Football: Bates criticism leaves Vialli wary of 'fakes'

WILL IT be a contest or a night of collusion? Milan are optimistic about the nature of tonight's Champions' League tie between Chelsea and Hertha Berlin at Stamford Bridge, but also fearful.

The belief that "it is not the English style" and that "Vialli would not want the stain on his reputation" gives them hope. But like the bookies they remember matches such as West Germany's with Austria, in the 1982 World Cup, and worry. Then Horst Hrubesch's early goal was followed by 80 minutes of inaction, enabling both sides to progress at the expense, on goal difference, of Algeria.

Tonight Chelsea and Hertha do not even have to bother with a goal: a scoreless draw would send both into the next lucrative stage of the Champions' League at the expense of Milan. The Italian champions, who must beat Galatasaray in Turkey, would then have to settle for a Uefa Cup place alongside Arsenal, assuming they do not lose in Istanbul.

That Milan could well pose a threat in the later stages of the Champions' League - should they survive - is an added incentive to Chelsea to see them depart but, for the reasons expressed above, the presence of 34,000 fans wanting good value for their expensive seats, and, above all, the intervention of the chairman Ken Bates, suggests they will approach the match intent on winning it.

Bates' input, made to Chelsea Clubcall, dominated yesterday's press conference. The chairman accused the team of "surrendering" during the 3-2 home loss to Arsenal and said there had been "errors of selection" in recent weeks, during which Chelsea also lost to Watford, Liverpool and Derby.

Gianluca Vialli, like his team at Pride Park, offered no defence but defused the comments with masterful diplomacy. He said: "I respect his opinion and accept the criticism. I have made mistakes. With the team we have, if you are perfect it is quite difficult to lose games, so I must have done something wrong.

"Against Arsenal we were the better team, but it was a very bad performance against Derby. It is not on purpose but in the back of our minds we approach games at the San Siro differently to the games at Watford or Derby. Now we have to make up for it with a good performance.

"Players sometimes react to criticism with better performances, but if we lose the chairman will not be happy and neither will I. We want to win and I want us to do so in style. A fake match would annoy me. It is nothing to do with my being Italian; our supporters have paid for their tickets and expect us to do our best and a fake match is not good for football."

The scenario is similar to that when Manchester United drew at home to Bayern Munich in the group stages last year. Though the formula for qualifying was different then, when both sides realised, late in the game, that the 1-1 score would put both of them through, attempts on goal dried up.

That may be the case tonight. Jurgen Rober, the Hertha coach, said: "I think we will be put under pressure as it is not the English way to play for a draw. But, maybe in the second half, if it is a draw with 15 minutes to go, everybody will be happy."

Indeed, as Vialli added: "Do not expect us to be silly and attack with 11 men just to show we are trying to win."

Not that winning will be easy. Chelsea were comprehensively out-thought and largely out-fought when losing 2-1 in Berlin in September. The right- back Albert Ferrer intimated yesterday that they had underestimated Hertha and they will probably pay closer attention to the Iranian international Ali Daei, who scored both goals, this time.

Like Chelsea, Berlin have only won once in five matches, but the astute Rober, a former Nottingham Forest player, is likely to have his team well organised with the accent, as in Berlin, on defence and counter-attack. Rober added: "I am surprised Milan have struggled but I hope they lose in Galatasaray. That way it does not matter what happens here."

Chelsea (probable): De Goey; Ferrer, Desailly, Leboeuf, Babayaro; Petrescu, Deschamps, Wise, Poyet; Zola, Flo.

Hertha Berlin (probable): Kiraly; Herzog, Rekdal, Van Burik; Sanneh, Deisler, Sverrisson, Wosz, Michalke; Preetz, Daei.

Referee: K E Nilsson (Sweden).

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all